A Super Sweet Resurgence of Reality on MTV

In 2005, a show called My Super Sweet 16 premiered on MTV. I was 14, fixated yet mildly disturbed as I watched teenagers just a couple of years my senior scream at their parents for buying  the wrong type of Mercedes as a birthday present.

Hillary Duff sang the infections theme song (which is stuck in my head as I type this). The episodes typically involved 16-year-olds barking orders at their parents and outlining outlandish demands, such as a casual half million dollar budget. The birthday princess would change costumes more times than Rihanna at the VMAs.

We watched in lurid fascination as catfights unfolded between friends, celebrity guests, and parents. We witnessed harsh consequences for parents who bought their children an underwhelming amount of diamonds:

Yashika, aka the Veruca Salt of diamonds, makes herself clear. (Photo courtesy of MTV)

This was the golden age of early 2000s reality TV. As always, MTV defined what was in vogue—and at the time, it was delightfully depraved, unscripted programming.

Along with My Super Sweet 16, MTV produced some of the most addictively decadent shows of that era—Laguna Beach, Cribs, 8th & Ocean, The Osbournes, et al. Americans were collectively hooked.

Read More

Comedy Central and the Creation of Colossal Clusterfest: The Bonnaroo of Comedy

Comedy Central’s first foray into the festival scene, a three-day music and comedy fete in June called Colossal Clusterfest, was quietly introduced in a press release back in February with the simple tagline: “Comedy. Music. Comedy.”

The San Francisco-based cluster boasted superb stand-up, live podcasts, musical performances, and interactive attractions. There were sips and suds from California’s renowned wineries and local fare from artisan chefs. The circus culminated in a live Comedy Central special.

The goal—to pack a whopping, fans-first immersive experience into one weekend—was lofty, especially for a first-time festival. But attendees and critics largely agree that it was a colossal success.

Watch the highlight reel:

Read More

BET Says Yes To Our Fans, Yes to Our Stories at the 2017 Upfront Presentation

BET continues its 16-year reign as the number one cable network for African-American viewers. With a broad slate of programming that includes award-winning, original series such as Being Mary Jane, whistle-blowing documentaries such as Charged: The DA vs. Black America, momentous specials like Black Girls Rock!, and renowned tentpole events that include the BET Awards, BET unfailingly captures the zeitgeist of its fans’ world.

At BET’s annual upfront presentation – an event where programmers preview their upcoming shows for advertisers – CEO Debra Lee revealed the network’s plans for the upcoming year: Rebranding sister network Centric, a swell of hit biopics and miniseries, and a partnership with Twitter that focuses on African-American social media trends.

NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 27: (L-R) Actor Deon Cole, comedian Wanda Sykes and Endyia Kinney-Sterns attend the 2017 BET Upfront NY at PlayStation Theater on April 27, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for BET)

Read More

Brazilian Preschoolers and Tech, World Turtle Day and Kids’ Gaming Habits: Viacom Global Insights Digest, June 2017

by Christian Kurz, Global Consumer Insights, Viacom

Welcome to the June issue of the Viacom Global Insights Digest, bringing you Viacom’s latest consumer insights from around the world.

This month, we look at the connection between preschooler tech use and safety in Brazil, a celebration of World Turtle Day, the importance of exclusive experiences to teens and young adults, dads’ struggle for more time at home, and kids’ gaming habits.

As always, the English version of our blog is home to these stories and many more. All stories are available in Spanish (LatAm) and Portuguese (Brazilian).

viacom
article-image

In Brazil, Parents Worry About Safety and Rely on Technology

Parents in Brazil see technology as an educational tool for preschoolers that keeps them entertained while safe at home.

Read more »

viacom
article-image

Celebrating World Turtle Day

On a day for raising awareness about turtles, we hope fans wore their Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle gear with pride.

Read more »

viacom
article-image

For Youth Today, Exclusive Experiences Are a Status Symbol

An always-on generation is drawn to being #first – and wants to be more mindful.

Read more »

viacom
article-image

Global Dads Struggle to Balance Career and Family

Dads want to be more involved in their kids’ lives, but getting time away from work isn’t easy.

Read more »

viacom
article-image

Global Kids Love Their Games

A new survey of kids in 30 countries reveals a generation of passionate gamers.

Read more »

Get Schooled and the Chainsmokers Celebrate Tulsa School’s Soaring Graduation Rates

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Fresh off topping a billion and a half YouTube views of their smash hit Closer, the Chainsmokers used their ever-growing profile to acknowledge something special happening in Tulsa: soaring graduation and college acceptance rates at Webster High School.

In a partnership with Get Schooled, an organization founded through a partnership between Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the duo crashed senior day at the Oklahoma high school, where 90 percent of a diverse student body is eligible for free or reduced lunch. After dazzling students at an assembly, the band gave every member of the school’s senior class a ticket to their concert that night at Tulsa’s BOK Center.

“We wanted to inspire them to go off and do an art, or whatever it is after this, and if we can be a part of it, that’s great,” the Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggert told Marty Kasper of News on 6, a local television news show, as he stood alongside bandmate Alex Paul following the assembly.

The Chainsmokers’ Andrew Taggert and Alex Paul address students at Webster High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo courtesy of Tulsa Public Schools.

Over the course of an ongoing four-year partnership with Diplomas Now, a national organization dedicated to improving retention and graduation rates, Webster’s graduation rate has jumped to over 75 percent from just over 50 percent, while the number of college-bound seniors has risen by 33 percent.

“The Webster High School community, in partnership with Diplomas Now, united the school around a common goal:  improved graduation,” said Get Schooled Executive Director Marie Groark. “Incredibly, they engaged every teacher and student in this work and in doing so have demonstrated to the nation what is possible when schools and partners work together. We are excited to recognize their hard work and success.”

The students seemed thrilled with the encounter. “I’m really excited,” Darius Arney told News on 6’s Kasper. “I can’t believe they’re actually here.” Check out the station’s full report from the school:

NewsOn6.com – Tulsa, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports – KOTV.com |

Read More

The Golden Age of Golden Popcorn: Highlights From the 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards

The 2017 MTV Movie & TV Awards was a gender and genre-bending revolution. The 26th annual iteration was held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on May 9, and hosted by Workaholics star Adam Devine. For the first time, MTV’s celebration of mega-hits included television juggernauts alongside cinematic blockbusters. It also banished gendered categories, a first for American award shows besides the Grammys.

Beginning in 1992, the MTV Movie Awards lit up Hollywood’s award show circuit. Its edgy and unique categories such as Best Kiss became as iconic as the network itself. As an arbiter of youth culture, MTV knows how to adapt to an ever-changing world—and this year’s ceremony was no exception.

Rolling Stone called the network’s decision to omit gender distinctions “a simple but radical switch,” citing Best Actor winner Emma Thompson’s acceptance speech.

“The first acting award in history that doesn’t separate nominees based on their sex says something about how we perceive the human experience,” Watson said. “Empathy and the ability to use your imagination should have no limits.”

Read More

See What Drove Viacom’s Q2 2017 Business Results – and What’s Coming Next

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Viacom reported its Q2 2017 earnings this morning behind strong performances across our portfolio. Click through the slideshow below to see what drove our business this quarter, and to get a preview of what we’re excited about coming up. Click over to Viacom Investor Relations for more details about this quarter’s earnings.

YOUTH IN FLUX Shows MIPTV How Global Youth React To Today’s World

Viacom’s Christian Kurz presented YOUTH IN FLUX, the latest study from the Viacom Global Consumer Insights group, to industry professionals at MIPTV, a leading international TV industry event taking place in Cannes right now.

The research examined the new reality of youth around the world, their individual and collective goals, and the life strategies they use to survive and thrive in a difficult world.

After speaking with more than 7,000 individuals ranging from 16 to 24 years old across 14 countries, including Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore and the United States, the group released its findings about how youth see themselves in the world today. Here are some of their findings:

It’s not easy being young: An incredible 93 percent of youth aged 16 to 24 feel it’s hard to be young today.

What makes it so hard?

For one, only one-fifth (21 percent) of youth have no trouble blocking out bad news, and half (53 percent) say they have a love/hate relationship with social media. This means they understand social media doesn’t accurately reflect reality, but just can’t seem to quit.

Youth are uniquely themselves – and they love it: The vast majority (96 percent) of youth surveyed globally say feeling comfortable in their own skin is important, and most (95 percent) also believe in following their heart versus their head.

Youth are optimistic about a more inclusive future…but also realistic: Almost all (97 percent) of those surveyed are guided by the words, ‘live and let live.’

Read More

Scarlett Johansson Rocks a Futuristic Dinner Party in the First Five Minutes of Ghost in the Shell

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Ahead of the film’s wide release next week, Paramount aired the first five minutes of its highly anticipated Ghost in the Shell film adaptation in a Facebook Live stream earlier today. [Slide to 1:30 to begin watching the preview.]

This is our first extended look at Scarlett Johansson as cyber-enhanced asskicker Major, an impossibly fluid super soldier who leaps off skyscrapers and bursts through glass in a terrorist-levelling, guns blazing, ninjitsu-flipping onslaught heavy on violent efficiency and devoid of mercy.

It isn’t clear from this opening scene exactly who dispatched the machine gun-equipped gang that Major pulverizes, although the shadowy Hanka Robotics is mentioned by an expiring kabuki robot. What is clear is the stunning future setting, a towering urban techtopia of building-sized holograms and ubiquitous robots, where wired humans download the entire French language into their brains in a few beats of song and an entire building’s security network can be scanned in moments from a virtual headset.

But that world is a backdrop to the story of Major, a one-time human whose body was so damaged in an accident that it was replaced with her exoskeleton – or so she was told. “Who is the Major is a good question,” says Johansson in the clip below, “and this film is really about the journey of self-discovery for the character.”

The Rupert Sanders-directed film, which costars Pilou Asbaek, Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche and Michael Pitt, will open in theaters nationwide on March 31.

Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Trevor Noah Locks In Highest-Rated and Most-Watched Month Ever in February

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

On the strength of fearless political commentary and a globally resonant perspective, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah hammered through February with record ratings, wrapping his most-watched and highest-rated month with 1.5 million viewers. International ratings shot up 22 percent.

Great news, right Trevor?

via GIPHY

Even in a crowded late-night talk show space brimming with talent, Noah continues to stand out, recording the only current monthly or quarterly year-over-year ratings increase in both total viewers and in the 18-49 demographic among daily late-night talk shows:

Daily Show Ratings Success February 2017

Noah’s ratings have climbed as he offers smart, incisive commentary on a bruising political landscape of fake news and alternative facts, of accusations of mass voter fraud and U.S. immigration bans. His analysis of President Donald Trump’s first week in office has been viewed nearly 5 million times on YouTube alone:

That ratings have increased even as the news cycle accelerates under the Trump Administration is a reflection of The Daily Show staff’s creative tenacity. “Things have definitely sped up,” Daily Show head writer Zhubin Parang told Slate’s Jen Chaney recently. “We used to be able to predict what the show would be the afternoon before the day, and now we just can’t ever assume that the show we have planned at 7 p.m. the night before is going to be anything like the show that’s ultimately going to air the next day.”

While Noah’s commentary frequently critiques Republican policies and actions, part of the show’s appeal is his willingness to engage guests from across the political spectrum. His December conversation with conservative television and online video host Tomi Lahren about Black Lives Matter, the meaning of the American flag, and race relations is the show’s most-watched on YouTube:

Bold conversations like these have helped propel the show’s digital and social engagement as well, with a 42 percent bump in digital views over February 2016 and more than 6 million social actions (likes, shares, comments, reactions, retweets), a best among the daily late night shows.

 

You can join the social conversation by following The Daily Show on TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat, and by liking the show’s Facebook page.

As Noah continues on pace toward his best ratings quarter ever, Comedy Central has announced a new edition to its late-night lineup: American and Australian comedian Jim Jefferies will join the network for a weekly show starting this summer. Here’s a little taste of Jefferies’ acerbic style from a Netflix special he released last year: